# London:Measures

### From Marteau

1 Foot | = | 1 1/3 Span = 3 Hands = 4 Palms = 12 Inches = 36 Barly-Corns = 144 Lines = 30.48006 cm (exact U.S. survey measure)/ regular modern equivalent: 30.48 cm. |

1 Mile | = | 8 Furlongs = 320 Poles = 880 Fathoms = 1056 Paces = 1408 Ells = 1760 Yards = 3520 Cubits = 5280 Foot 7040 Spans = 21160 Palms = 1609.347 m (exact U.S. survey measure)/ regular modern equivalent: 1609.344 |

1 Degree | = | 20 Marine Leagues (each of 3.475 miles or 5.592 kilometers) = 69½ English Miles = 111.800 km |

1 Gallon (Ale, Beer, Water) | = | 2 Pottles = 4 Quarts = 8 Pints = 282 Cubic Inches = a little more than 10 Pound 3 Ounces Avoirdpois of Rain-water, i.e. 4.621 liters |

1 Last of Ale | = | 12 Barrels = 24 Kinderkins = 48 Firkins = 384 Gallons Ale (the Firkin of 8 Gallons) = 1774.464 liters |

1 Last of Beer | = | 12 Barrels = 24 Kinderkins = 48 Firkins = 432 Gallons Beer (the Firkin of 9 Gallons) = 1996.272 liters |

1 Hogshead of Beer | = | 54 Gallons of Beer = 249,534 liters |

1 Gallon of Wine | = | 2 Pottles = 4 Quarts = 8 Pints = 231 Cubic Inches, i.e. 3.785 liters |

1 Tun of Wine | = | 2 Pipes or Butts = 3 Punchions = 6 Tierces = 14 Runlets = 252 Wine Gallons = 953.82 liters |

1 Hogshead of Wine | = | 53 Wine Gallons = 200.605 liters |

1 Jar (or Jarro) of Oil | = | 20, 22, 24 or 26 Gallons of Oil = 90-100 litres |

1 Jar of green Ginger | = | about an hundred weight = 50.8 kg |

1 Quarter (dry quantities) | = | 2 Combs = 4 Strickes = 8 Bushels = 32 Pecks = 64 Gallons (272.25 Cubic Inches or 4.4614 dm³) = 128 Pottles = 256 Quarts = 516 Pints = 285.528 dm³ |

1 Pound Avoirdupois | = | 16 Ounces = 256 Drachms = 7000 Grains = 453.59 g [general use] |

1 Hundredweight Avoirdupois | = | 112 Pounds (the half Hundred 56 Pound, the Quarter 28 Pound, the Stone or half Quarter of the Hundred 14 Pound) = 50.802 kg |

1 Pound Troy | = | 12 Ounces = 240 Pennyweight = 5760 Grains = 373.24 g. [used for noble metals, and medicine] |

1 Tower Pound | = | 5400 Grains = 349.91 g. |

1 Merachant Pound | = | 7200 Grains = 466.55 g. |

If not stated otherwise the pint was based on the gallon of beer and matched 0.577 liters. A pint of wine had 0.473 liters (it lives on as the pint of the American gallon derived from the English Wine Gallon defined under Queen Anne in 1706).

The wine gallon, which some sources relate to the volume occupied by eight medieval merchant pounds of wine, had been defined as the volume of a cylinder six inches deep and seven inches in diameter, i.e. 6·3½²·π = 230.90706 in³. The redefinition under Queen Anne as 231 in³ exactly (3 × 7 × 11 in³) was the result of the earlier definition with π approximated to ^{22}⁄_{7}.

The modern English "Imperial" gallon used both for dry and liquid materials was adopted in 1824 as a close approximation to the ale gallon and based on the volume of 10 lb of distilled water weighed in air with brass weights with the barometer standing at 30 in and at a temperature of 62 °F. In 1963, this definition was refined as the space occupied by 10 lb of distilled water of density 0.998 859 g/ml weighed in air of density 0.001 217 g/ml against weights of density 8.136 g/ml. This works out to exactly 4.545 964 591 l, or 277.420 in³. The Weights and Measures Act of 1985 finally switched to a gallon of exactly 4.546 09 l (approximately 277.419 43 cu in).

The original ratio between corn and wine gallon is 9¼²:6·3½² = 1369:1176, but 268.8:231 is exactly 64:55 or ca. 13:11. This approximation is still applicable, although the ratio of 1.164 115 646 slightly changed to 1.163 647 186 with current definitions (268.8025:231 = 107521:92400 ~= 1344:1165).

## Contents |

## Alexander Justice (1707): "A General Discourse of the Weights and Measures"

[...]

By the 27th Chapter of the *Magna Charta*, the Weights and Measures are ordered to be the same all over *England*, and to be according to the King’s Standard, of Weights and Measures, kept in the Exchequer, by a special Officer of the House call’d, *The Clerk*, or *Comptroller of the Market*.

All Measures whatsoever, are either Receptive of Applicative.

The Measures of Capacity, or Receptive Measures, are again comprehended under the Denomination of Liquid, and dry Measures.|<2>

The Liquid for, Wine, Brandy, Vinegar, Cyder, Beer, Ale, and such other Goods.

The Dry, for Grains, Salt, Coals, and such like.

Applicative Measures are either,

The Yard, Ell, Cane, Aune, and other such Measures, for Linnen and Wollen Cloth, Silks, Laces, Ribbons, and other such Goods. Or,

The Inch, Foot *&c.* for Wood; or the longer Measures of that Nature, for Land, *&c.*

Not to speak of the Fractions of an *English* Pint, which are not worth the mentioning in a Book of Trade, the Reader may observe, That 2 Pints make a Quart, 2 Quarts a Pottle, and 2 Pottles a Gallon; which Measure contains 282 solid Inches, and holds of Rain-water 10 Pound, 3 Ounces, or a little more, Avoirdupois Weight; 8 Gallons make a Firkin of Ale, 2 Firkins make a Kilderkin, 2 Kilderkins a Barrel, and 12 Barrels a Last.

It is otherwise in measuring of Beer; for those small Measures for Ale and for Beer be the same, whereas they reckon but 8 Gallons of Ale, they count 9 of Beer to the Firkin; 2 such Firkins to the Kilderkin, and 2 Kilderkins to the Barrel. One Barrel and a half, or 3 Kilderkins, or 6 Firkins, or 54 Gallons of Beer, make Hogshead of Beer; Two Hogsheads make a Pipe or Butt, and two Pipes a Tun, consisting of 1728 Pints, weighing that many Pounds.

The Wine Measures are smaller than those for Ale and Beer, to which they bear the same Proportion as 4 to 5; so that 4 Gallons of Ale or Beer, are very near 5 Gallons of Wine. And each Gallon of Wine is 231 Cubical Inches, and holds 8 Pound, 1 Ounce, and 4 Drachms, Avoirdupois Weight, of Rain-Water; 18 of these Gallons make a Runlet, 42 a Tierce, 53 a Hogshead, 84 a Punchion, 126 a Pipe, or Butt, and 252 a Tun.

One Pint of Wine weighs 1 Pound; ½ Ounce Troy [467 g]; and a Tun [953.82 l] 1700 Pound Avoirdupois [771.103 kg].

*Note*, What we generally call a Tierce, in speaking of Wine Measure, is one third part of a Punchion, and 1/6 of a Tun.

Formerly they made use of the Wine Measure for Beer, Ale, Cyder &c. But now that is forbid under severe Penalties, and none but the *Winchester* Measure is used. And as for Vessels, in which Beer, Ale, *&c.* are contain’d, there is a Statute 23 *H.* 8. giving Power to the Wardens of the Ministry of Coopers within|<3> the City of *London*. To Search and Gauge all Vessels made for Ale, Beer &c (and also for Soap) to be sold within the City, Suburbs, or two Miles thereof; and examining their Contents an Weights, and finding them right, to mark them with St. *Anthony*’s Cross.

And by the Statute 31 *Eliz.* all Brewers are forbid to sell, or put to sale, in *London*, the Suburbs, or within two Miles compass of the Suburbs, any Beer or Ale in Butts, Pipes, Punchions, Hogsheads, Tierces, or such other Foreign Vessels, till they be gaug’d by the Masters and Wardens of the Coopers of the City of *London*.

By Statute 16 and 17 *Car.* It is ordained that all Sea-Coals brought into the River *Thames* shall be sold by the Chaldron, to contain 36 Bushels [1281.45 dm³] heap’d, according to the Bushel seal’d for that Purpose at *Guild Hall, London*. And Coals sold by Weight are to be sold after the rate of 112 Pound to the Hundred, under the Penalty of Forfeiture of all the Coals, and double the value thereof, to be recovered in any Court of Records, or upon Complaint to the to the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen of *London*, are impowered to set Rates and Prices upon Coals, to be sold by retail; allowing a competent clear Profit to the Retailer. The Statute by 7 & 8 *W.* 3. & *C.* 36. is made perpetual.

The Received Proportion in the Weights of Liquids are thus.

The Amphora of the *Romans* held of Rain-water or Wine, 50 Pound, of *Antwerp* weight; 107 5/4 [last number difficult to read], of which make 112 Pound of *London* [50.802 kg]; so that ‘tis a little more than 5 per Cent. larger than ours.

And a Measure containing of Wine, or Rain-water, | 50 | Pound |

Contains of River-water | 53 | |

Of Butter or Oyl, | 45 | |

Of Linseed Oyl, | 39 | |

Of Honey | 35 | |

Of Quick-Silver | 850 |

Of Receptive Measures for dry Goods, such as Corn, and all sorts of Grains, &c, There is,

First, The Gallon, which is larger than the Wine Gallon, and smaller than the Ale Gallon, contains 272¼ Inches Cubical, and holds the weight of 9 Pound, 13 Ounces, 12½ Drachms, Avoirdupois Weight (4,473 g); 2 Gallons make a Peck, 4 Pecks a Bushel, 4 Bushels a Comb, or Cumock, 2 Cumocks a Quarter, Seam, or Raff;|<4> and 10 Quarters a Last; which contains 5120 Pints, and that many Pounds, Troy Weight.

This is call’d *Winchester* measure, and by it Salt, Lime, and Coals are measur’d; But in measuring the two latter of these Commodities, the Measures are heap’d, or else 5 strick’d Pecks are allow’d to the Bushel.

Thirty six Bushels make a Chaldron of Coals, and on Shipboard, 21 Chaldrons are allow’d to the Score.

dm³ | ||||||||||

Quart | 2 | 1.115 | ||||||||

Pottle | 2 | 4 | 2.231 | |||||||

Gallon | 2 | 4 | 8 | 4.461 | ||||||

Peck | 2 | 4 | 8 | 16 | 8.923 | |||||

Bushel | 4 | 8 | 16 | 32 | 64 | 35.691 | ||||

Quarter | 8 | 32 | 64 | 128 | 256 | 512 | 285.528 | |||

Wey | 5 | 40 | 160 | 320 | 640 | 1280 | 2560 | 1427.64 | ||

Last | 2 | 10 | 80 | 320 | 640 | 1280 | 2560 | 5120 | 2855.28 |

A Bushel, Water-Measure, contains 5 Pecks. Some make 6 Quarters of Meal, a Wey; and 1 Wey 3 Quarters, a Last.

cm | ||

The smallest Applicative Measure is a Barly-Corn, of which | 0.846 | |

3 | Make 1 Finger’s Breadth, or Inch. | 2.54 |

4 | Inches 1 Hand, or Hand’s Breadth. | 10.16 |

3 | Hands 1 Foot | 30.48 |

1 ½ | Foot, or 4 ½ Hands, 1 Cubit. | 45.72 |

2 | Cubits, 1 Yard; or 16 Nailes. | 91.44 |

1¼ | Yard, 1 Ell | 114.3 |

And again,

m | ||

5 | Foot, make a Geometrical Pace | 1.524 |

6 | Foot, 1 Fathom; and | 1.829 |

16½ | Foot, 1 Perch, Pole or Rod | 5.029 |

40 | Perches, 1 Furlong; and, | 201.2 |

8 | Furlong, 1 English Mile, according to the Statute 11 H. 7.
| 1609.35 |

69½ | English Miles, make a Degree (tho’ a Degree be generally computed only 60 Miles) And, | 111,800 |

24840 | Degrees is the Compass of the Terrestrial Globe. | 2,777,112,000 |

|<5>A TABLE of Long Measures

0.0254 | 0.0761 | 0.2286 | 0.3048 | 0.46 | 0.91 | 1.14 | 1.52 | 1.83 | 5.03 | 201.17 | 1609.35 | meter |

63360 | 21160 | 7040 | 5280 | 3520 | 1760 | 1408 | 1056 | 880 | 320 | 8 | 1 | Mile |

7920 | 2640 | 280 | 660 | 440 | 220 | 176 | 132 | 110 | 40 | 1 | Furlong | |

198 | 66 | 82 | 16 | 11 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | Pole | ||

72 | 24 | 8 | 6 | 4 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 1 | Fathom | |||

60 | 20 | 6 | 5 | 3 | 1 | 1 | 1 | Pace | ||||

45 | 15 | 5 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | Ell | |||||

36 | 12 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | Yard | ||||||

15 | 6 | 2 | 1 | 1 | Cubit | |||||||

12 | 4 | 1 | 1 | Foot | ||||||||

9 | 3 | 1 | Span | |||||||||

3 | 1 | Palm | ||||||||||

Inches |

Another TABLE of Long Measure

m | ||||||

Inches | 0.0254 | |||||

Foot | 12 | 0.3048 | ||||

Yard | 3 | 36 | 0.9144 | |||

Pole | 5 ½ | 16 ½ | 198 | 5.0292 | ||

Furlong | 40 | 220 | 660 | 7920 | 201.168 | |

Mile | 8 | 320 | 1760 | 5280 | 63360 | 1609.35 |

In this Table the Pole or Perch is computed to be 16 Feet and a half, which ist he Statute Measure; but there is some customary Measures which are more; for Fens and Wood-Lands they reckon 18 Feet to the Pole, and Forests 21.

A TABLE of Superficial Measures.

m² | ||||||

Feet | 0.0929 | |||||

Yard | 9 | 0.8361 | ||||

Pole | 30¼ | 272 1/3 | 25,292 | |||

Rood | 40 | 1210 | 10890 | 1011,714 | ||

Acre | 4 | 160 | 4810 | 43560 | 4046.85 | |

Mile | 640 | 2560 | 102400 | 30976 | 27878400 | 2,589,988.11 |

|<6>In this Table you have in a square Mile 640 square Acres, 2560 square Roods, &c. in a square Acre 4 square Roods, 160 square Poles &c. in a square Pole, 30¼ square Yards, and 272 1/3 square Feet; and in a square Yard 9 square Feet. Which being rightly understood all the Tables of Reduction are sufficiently explained.

The English Mile by Statute-Law consists of 5280 *London* Feet, or 1760 Yards, and 8 Furlongs; of these Miles the Experiments of Mr *Norwood*, and Mr *Picart*, do demonstrate 69 [111.044 km] and somewhat more, to be a Degree of the Earth’s Surface, tho’ a Degree has generally been reckoned but 60 Miles [96.560 km].

A *Marine* League is the 20th Part of a Degree [5,592 km], and most Nations agree to reckon so, for Distances at Sea.

A *French* League is the 25th part of a Degree [4.474 km], being near 2 *English* Miles, and three Quarters [4.426 km].

A *German* Mile is reckoned to be the 15th Part of a Degree [7.457 km], or better than 4 *English* Miles [6.437 km].

A *Dutch* Mile, or such as are used in *Holland*, is near the 19th part of a Degree [5.887 km], being about three *English* Miles an half [5.632 km].

An *Italian* Mile [1473.25 m] is a thousand Paces of *Roman* Feet each [i.e. 5000 Roman Feet], and the *Roman* Foot being 2/5 of an Inch less than the *London* Foot [i.e. 29.47 cm], or as 29 is to 30 [i.e. 29.46 cm]; it follows that 76 *Italian* Miles [111.967 km] are nearest a Degree [of 111.849 km] and the *Turkish* Miles are reputed equal the *Italian*.

The *Danes, Sweds*, and *Hungarians*, make long Miles, about a *German* Mile and a half [i.e. 11.185 km], or at least 5 or 6 English Miles [between 8 and 9.5 km]; the *Polish* Miles are near equal to the *Dutch* Miles, and reckoned about 20 to a Degree [5.592 km].

The *Scotch* and *Irish* Miles are longer than the *English* by about a half [which would be 2.414 km], and are not defined by any certain Measure that I can learn.

The *Spanish* League is estimated at four *Italian* Miles [i.e. 5.893 km], and are reckoned 17½ to a Degree [6.391 km].

The *Russians* use a short Measure they call *Vorst*, which is a little more than three Quarters of an English Mile [1.207 km].

The *Arabian* Mile, both Ancient and Modern, is about an *English* Mile and a Quarter [2.011 km].

Things that are not sold by Weight and Measure, are counted, or sold by Tale.

In the Primitive Ages of the World, when Mankind was but little acquainted with Numbers, they counted by their Fingers, as many *Indian* Nations do at this Time: And thence probably it is|<7> that the Numerical Letters, Cyphers, and Words, are at most but Ten, and in some Places only Five.

Several sorts of Goods are counted after that manner, such as Fish, Hides, Paper, Parchment, Sables, and other Things.

Cod and Ling, and such Fish, have 124 to the 100.

Eels, 25 to the Strike, and 10 Strike to the Bind.

Herrings, 120 to the 100, and 1200 to the 1000, which make a Barrel; and 12 Barrels make a Last.

Of Furs, Filches, Grays, Jennets, Martins, Mincks, and Sables, 40 Skins is a Timber: And other Skins have 5 Score to the 100.

Of Paper, 24 Sheets to the Quire, 20 Quire to the Ream, and 10 Ream to the Bale.

Of Parchment, 12 Skins make a Dozen, and 5 Dozen a Roll.

Of Hides, 10 go to a Dicker, and 20 Dickers to a Last.

Hay is sold by the Scam of 24 Stone, and the Stone of 5 Pound.

A Last of Gun-Powder, contains 24 Barrels, and the Barrel 100 Pound.

By *Avoirdupois Weight* is weighed all manner of Things that have waste, as all Physical Drugs and Grocery, Rosin, Wax, Pitch, Tar, Tallow, Soap, Hemp, Flax, Wool, *&c.* All base Metals and Minerals, as Iron, Steel, Lead, Tin, Copper, Allum, Coperas, *&c.*

The Tun *Averdupois*, is 20 Hundred of all Things, except Lead, which has but 19 Hundred and a half to the Tun, or Fodder.

The Hundred Weight, *Averdupois*, contains 112 Pound, the half Hundred 56 Pound, the Quarter 28 Pound, the Stone (or half Quarter of the Hundred) 14 Pound; and thus is Iron and Shot weighed.

But Allum, Cinnamon, Nutmegs, Pepper, and Sugar, have but 13 Pound and a half to the Stone, or half Quarter of the Hundred; 27 to the Quarter, 54 Pound to the half, and 108 Pound to the whole Hundred.

*Essex* Cheese and Butter are weighed by the Clove, or half Stone, allowing 8 Pound to each Clove, and 32 Cloves, or 256 Pound to the Wey; and in *Suffolk* they allow 42 Cloves, or 336 to the Wey.

Wool is sold by the Clove, allowing but 7 Pound to the Clove, 14 Pound to the Stone, 28 to the Tod, 182 to the Wey, 364 Pound to the Sack, and 4368 Pound to the Last.|<8>

A Faggot of Steel is 120 Pound. A Burthen of Gad Steel is 9 Score, or 180 Pound; 56 Pound of Butter, or 60 Pound of Soap, make Firkin, and 2 Firkins of either make a Barrel.

Butchers allow but 8 Pound to the Stone.

## Edward Cocker (1715): "Jar"

*Jarr* or *Jarro*, an earthen Vessel, which in England contains 20 Gallons of Oil.

## Henry Crouch (1728): Occurrences of Jars

|<64> Green Ginger in Jars, about an hundred Weight [50.8 kg]. |<170> Oil in Jars and Chests: The whole Jars are usually passed at 24 and sometimes 22 and 26 Gallons each. The whole Chest at 8 Gallons [...].

## Sources

- Justice, Alexander,
*A general treatise of monies and exchanges; in which those of all trading nations are particularly describ'd and consider'd. With an account of all the foreign banks ... Together with an exact translation of the excellent ordinances lately publish'd in France, ... As also, tables of the reduction of the monies and exchanges of the most considerable towns in Europe. To which is subjoyn'd, a general discourse of the trade and commodities of most nations: ... Together with an universal treatise of the weights and measures usual in trade all over the world, ... By a well-wisher to trade*(London, 1707). - Cocker, Edward,
*Cocker's English dictionary, containing, an explanation of the most refined and difficult words*(London, 1715).

## Literature

- Zupko, Ronald Edward,
*British weights & measures: a history from antiquity to the seventeenth century*(London: University of Wisconsin Press, 1977). ISBN 0-299-07340-8

## External Links